Ton of anchors will hold 'er
The Lake Improvement Commission heard reports Monday that the lake dredge has reached a depth of 21 feet on the day it turned back toward shore to begin its second "cut" of the season.
And the Storm Lake LIC issued a warning to the public to remember that it is dangerous to boat around the dredge and the area where the spoil site pipes come on shore.
City Administrator John Call told the commission that the dredge is pumping well since last winter's rebuild and the material it's been able to remove is exactly what the lake proponents had hoped for.
"Not only that but the dredge has hit the 21-foot mark which is something to be noted," Call said. "Although it has been struggling in the recent winds, it is noteworthy that today the dredge started back toward the south on its second cut of the year."
Call told the commission that the dredge had its anchors replaced due to stress which has caused the anchor cables to break.
"The crews replaced the two 500-pound anchors with two half-ton anchors, Call said. "Not only did that help stabilize the dredge, but with heads on the new anchors that swivel, the cables are turning with the dredge and not breaking."
Call also said that the dredge crew needed a new boat and that city of Storm Lake street department superintendent Pat Kelly was looking into "something that would be more stable and safe in the high winds the lake was experiencing this year."
Call also said that Kelly was looking for a part-time worker to set anchors and help get things going in the morning.
Engineer Bob Payer told the commission that the east spoil site which is being constructed behind the campground on the east side of the lake should be finished on schedule.
"The intake piping from shoreline is all in and the outlet piping is in to the east side of the county road," he said. "There still is about 1,000 feet of piping left to go. The crews have about 35 to 40 percent of the piping finished."
Payer said the crews are working six-day weeks and that they have about 20-percent of the earthwork finished.
"At this point I believe they are on schedule to finished on time," he said.
Commission member Julie Sievers of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told the commission that the dredge was pumping "good, solid production."
"The 21-foot marker is really something and we got down to the blue clay," Sievers said. "Last year the dredge was averaging about 30-percent solid material. This year with the new cutter head and the rebuilt engine, we're seeing 40- to 45-percent solid black material coming into the south spoil. It's doing a nice job of filling in the south cell of the site."
Sievers said the water coming into the lake and being pumped out is in balance.
"Production seems very steady right now," Sievers said. "Last year the pumping from the dredge into the spoil site wasn't spewing the spoil out into the cells, so crews had to move the pipe around every day to keep an even flow into the site. But this year, there is greater pressure and the necessity to move the pipe isn't there because the spoil is blowing out into the cell."
Sievers explained that the dredge finished the first cut which is a 1,000 feet by 100 feet swath of lake. She said she hoped the public would remain mindful of the pipes extending out from the dredge to the spoil site and stay away from the dredge.
"The pipes are on the bottom for the most part," she said. But not all the time and not near the dredge or the shore. Please stay away from the dredge."